Brilliant Songs, Brilliantly Remixed #1

# 1 Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve (Hut Records, 1997, HUTTR82)

Welcome to the Saturday night before my 22nd birthday. I have been to Camden Town, which at the time (1997) is Britpop central. In one night I have met three different blokes who all claim to be in Menswear (usually said to young girls in an attempt to impress them), one who claims to be the singer in long-forgotten indie-poppers Rialto (and to be fair he could have been) and another one who said he was ‘in Supergrass’ (he definitely wasn’t). I’ve also genuinely just spilled half a pint of lager onto the shoes of a lad who is definitely in the band Symposium. I know this because I have been drinking with Symposium all afternoon. I wonder what happened to Symposium?

(Well, to answer my own question, one of them is ‘sort of’ in Hot Chip, two of them are/were in Hell for Heroes and I’m unsure about the other two)

I am it has to be said, struggling to walk in a straight line, and I might have just tried to steal one of those boxes that contain copies of the Evening Standard from outside the Tube Station. It’s only half-past ten but Mrs SWC, who is nearly sober, despite drinking twice as much as me, has reminded me that we need to get back to Waterloo for half eleven. Sadly for Mrs SWC, I am demanding food and I am demanding that we enter Mehmet’s Mamaris Grill, which I am declaring to be, “the greatest restaurant in London” to get said food. It also appears that I have forgotten that I am a vegetarian because I have just ordered the world’s largest portion of sausage and chips. Mrs SWC calmly orders the veggie option and we will swap later in the tube station.

With one minute to spare we make it to the train which will take us back to the suburbs, and we flop into some seats as the train trundles away in the south London darkness. Just outside Deptford train station, the train comes to a shuddering and somewhat dramatic stop. I’m still quite drunk, and for a second I think I have fallen off the seat, I’ve certainly been half asleep. A guard comes running through the train and a few people (mostly drunk people) start to look a bit concerned. Mrs SWC, kicks me and tells me to ‘go and take a look’. Me being still quite drunk, decide that this is a great idea.

It turns out the train is on fire.

Something, which, fuelled by alcohol, I find hilarious and can barely stop laughing as I deliver the news to about fifteen people in the carriage. I’m not sure people believe me, despite my convincing delivery. That is until we see five young kids running for dear life down the handily placed ramp that leads to Deptford Train Station, chased by a couple of older guys.

Then the guard appears and tells us to get off the train, as its ‘ablaze’ not on fire.


He tells us to move quickly to the end carriage and go onto the platform, I immediately go the wrong way – and the guard looks at me as if I am simple and says ‘no the other end, son’. Mrs SWC sighs and grabs my hand; we make it home eventually in a shared cab which is playing reggae music so loudly that it makes my teeth rattle. This I am told is because I kept telling the driver to ‘turn up the bass.

All of which riddim and ting brings us to Britpop’s finest moment and a wonderful piece of vinyl from Badger’s Box.

mp3: The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony (James Lavelle Remix)

The James Lavelle Mix of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ is a bleeding masterpiece. It first circulated I think, on the original 12” of the single (which came out on my 22nd birthday, hence why I am talking about the events two days prior to my 22nd birthday), but I have never seen a copy of the 12″ so can’t confirm that.

mp3: The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony (Original)

It definitely featured on the CD single of the next single ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, as I remember playing the mix before I’d played the lead track.

mp3: The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work

Badger’s version, however, is another promo. Honestly, I don’t know where he got all these from. It is a beautiful thing. A plain white sleeve, with a lime green sticker, on the top of it, which tells us what it is. The mix is fairly laid back, stretching out the sampled string section and replacing most of the guitars with thick old beats. James Lavelle has unsurprisingly made this look, sound, and feel, like an UNKLE record, and I think I love this more than the original.


45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 29)


17 – History (Radio Edit)– The Verve (1995, Hut Records)

Released as a single in September 1995 (Reached Number 24)

Of course, the album version with its reference to Beds being unmade and having a skin full of dope’ is the superior version.

History (Album Version)

‘History’ was the single that was released about a day before The Verve split up (the first time at least). It a luscious string laden epic that is obviously about the break up of whatever relationship Richard Ashcroft was in at the time, although he denies that. The front cover of the single sees the band standing in front of an American theatre with the words ‘All Farewells Should be Sudden’ reaching out from top of the theatre.

When I listen to this song I can only think of one thing. A guy also called Richard, although nobody called him that. We all called him Dickie Twice.

Dickie Twice was a student at my University. He got the nickname ‘Twice’, because he used to repeat everything twice. Especially, but not exclusively, jokes. We’d be in the bar and he would be telling us a story of his formative days living on a rough estate in Portsmouth and he would get to the point of the story and then he would repeat it, just in case, we’d missed it, “so we legged it and hid in the pub. (Pause) We hid in the Pub.” – that sort of thing.

He did it all the time. Hence Dickie Twice. He was a brilliant rugby player as well, but that’s not relevant.

Dickie Twice had a girlfriend, who we will call Natalie. She is relevant because half way through our second year, Natalie decided to out of the blue, give up University, go travelling and find herself in some Guatemalan jungle (I’m told she got a refund…). She had been with Dickie Twice about a year at this point and three weeks before Christmas she told Dickie in the Guildford Branch of Marks and Spencer that the reason, she was buying travel socks was because she was catching a flight to Santiago in a weeks’ time and no he wasn’t coming with her.

At 2am, the next day, the phone in my house rang. Johnny my housemate answered the phone and about ten minutes later he was knocking on my door, about five minutes after that Mrs SWC, Johnny, Johnny’s girlfriend Amanda and me were sitting in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil. Johnny explained what was going on but Johnny being the wickedly funny and heartless soul that he is, did it in full on Dickie Twice mode.

A Little Soul – Pulp (1998, Island Records, Number 22)

“That was Dickie Twice on the phone. Nat’s dumped him. She’s going travelling. She’s going to the jungle. To the jungle. To help save monkeys. Monkeys. He’s spent the last six hours trying to change her mind. Change her mind. But she’s going next week. Next Week. Christmas in La Paz is lovely apparently. La Paz.”

This went on for about five minutes, we sat there spellbound as Johnny recreated the phone call word for word. At times it was hilarious, and Mrs SWC and Amanda chastised us for laughing as the intimate moments of Dickie Twice’s relationship breakdown were revealed to us…” and she thinks its weird that I insist on wearing my Quins Top during sex. My Quins Top! I never mentioned her third nipple. Third nipple.”

Eventually Johnny tells us this sentence…”Oh he’s going to go to Wisley Rock and chuck himself off the top. Off the top. And we mustn’t try and stop him. Do not try and stop him. I know he’s serious because he said it twice”. Johnny said between laughter. Wisley Rock is a small rockery located at a famous garden in the Surrey countryside. You could barely chip a toenail by throwing yourself off it. Besides it costs ten quid to get in and Dickie Twice hasn’t got ten quid and couldn’t find his way there even if he was serious.

Johnny refills the kettle and grabs some crisps from the food cupboard. I get out some biscuits, sensing an all-night tea and chat session.

Coffee and TV – Blur (1999, Food Records, Number 11)

Mrs SWC, ever the voice of reason, looks at me and Johnny, and says you should both go over and see him. Take a beer over or something and make sure he’s ok. I look at her and tell its two thirty in the morning and its minus bloody four outside. Amanda nods and tells Johnny the same thing.

He switches the kettle off and I sigh and grab some gloves. It’s a twenty minute walk to Dickie’s house. I give Mrs SWC a look and pocket the biscuits. She stands up goes over to the other food cupboard and takes out some Galaxy Chocolate and sticks her tongue out at me.

Dickie Twice was fine. We wake up his housemates and find him passed out on his bed wearing his Quins Top and cuddling a small toy bear, a half drunk bottle of Jim Bean is on the floor next to him. We check he is breathing, and then before we leave Johnny draws a moustache on a small photo of Natalie that is next to the bed and with a stifled giggle, we leave him alone.


THE 1997 NME SINGLE OF THE YEAR (Recorded in 1965!)

I’m a long way removed from being a fan of The Verve or Richard Ashcroft, but I am willing to admit the song that brought them/him to the attention of the wider public is absolute class:-

mp3 : The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (radio edit)

Only thing is….. that according to the info within the CD single sitting on my shelf, it was actually performed by The Andrew Oldham Orchestra and written solely by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

The story is quite infamous now. I’ll simply lift from wiki:-

The opening strings are sampled from the 1965 Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time”, arranged and written by David Whitaker. The Verve negotiated rights to use a six-note sample from the recording from the recording’s copyright holder Decca Records; however, they did not obtain permission from former Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein, who owned the copyrights to the band’s pre-1970 songs, including “The Last Time”. Although “Bitter Sweet Symphony” had already been released, Klein refused to grant a license for the sample. This led to a lawsuit with ABKCO Records, Klein’s holding company, which was settled out of court. The Verve relinquished all royalties to Klein, and the songwriting credits were changed to Jagger/Richards, with Ashcroft receiving $1,000 for completely relinquishing rights.

Verve bassist Simon Jones said, “We were told it was going to be a 50/50 split, and then they saw how well the record was doing. They rung up and said we want 100 percent or take it out of the shops, you don’t have much choice.” Ashcroft sarcastically said, “This is the best song Jagger and Richards have written in 20 years”, noting it was their biggest UK hit since “Brown Sugar”.

In a 1999 interview with Q, asked whether he believed the result was fair, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said: “I’m out of whack here, this is serious lawyer shit. If the Verve can write a better song, they can keep the money.”

In 1999, Andrew Oldham sued for royalties after failing to receive the mechanical royalties he claimed he was owed. After receiving his royalties, Oldham joked that he bought “a pretty presentable watch strap” compared to the watch Jagger and Richards would get with the money. In an interview with Uncut, he said: “As for Richard Ashcroft, well, I don’t know how an artist can be severely damaged by that experience. Songwriters have learned to call songs their children, and he thinks he wrote something. He didn’t. I hope he’s got over it. It takes a while.”

In May 2019, Ashcroft received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. Ashcroft announced that the dispute was over following negotiations with Klein’s son, Jody, and the Rolling Stones’ manager Joyce Smith.  He said: “As of last month, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for Bittersweet Symphony, which was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do. I never had a personal beef with the Stones. They’ve always been the greatest rock and roll band in the world. It’s been a fantastic development. It’s life-affirming in a way.

So how much plagarism was involved?

mp3 : Andrew Oldham Orchestra – The Last Time

OK, I’m no musician and I can’t quite understand how it went the way it did.  Yup, there was a sample.  Yup, there was an error in not getting Klein on board. Yup, the song ended up being more successful than was likely imagined.  But there is no way that it could ever be seen as solely a Jagger/Richard composition. I’m also baffled as to why none of the five members of The Verve, named on the front of the sleeve and who obviously played on the track, aren’t entitled to any credit.

Things were just as ridiculous when The Verve included a remix version of the song as a track on the CD2 single of The Drugs Don’t Work:-

mp3 : The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (James Lavelle Remix)

The same credits in terms of composing and performing were detailed, with the following additions:-

Vocals by Richard Ashcroft
Lyrics by Richard Ashcroft
Additional strings conducted and arranged by Wil Malone
Remixed by James Lavelle for U.N.C.L.E Productions

How magnanimous of them…..



The Shoebox of Delights – Lucy Pittman Picked Number 25
All In The Mind – The Verve


This is a true story, it sees the return of Our Price Girl, who dumped me for daring to diss Carl Puttnam the singer in Cud, and it also features the band Dodgy. Stop…Come Back. Its doesn’t feature their music, just them.

My first ever gig as a music lover was Neds Atomic Dustbin at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. I went with Chris (him of the Dubstar argument) and a chap called Geoff, who was an idiot. We got there early, largely because Geoff’s dad dropped up down there at about 4pm because he had to get back and pick his mum up (the only reason we asked Geoff is because we knew his Dad would ferry us about all over the shop). It being some three hours before the doors opened, we decided to hit the arcades in the town, grab a burger and try our luck with the locals girls, we were all (nearly) 16 – had £20 in our pockets and frankly, the world was our oyster. We forgot that it was Folkestone, a Wednesday afternoon, late February and absolutely freezing.

In one arcade on seafront, there was an old school Space Invaders Game, I was quite good at this and decided to put 50p in and see if I could beat the highest score (turns out the high score was about 70 as the machine had only been switched on for about 15 minutes) so off I went. About ten minutes in to the game a bloke with a hat asked if he could join it on the two player option. I let him, he was really good at Space Invaders, I mean, brilliant at it.

This ladies and gents was Nigel, the singer in Dodgy. I found this after the game, when he bought me a Coke. We had a chat and basically he told me what he was doing in the craphole that was Folkestone (now days Folkestone is a lovely place, home to Fruitbat from Carter USM, amongst other rock royalty) he was supporting Neds Atomic Dustbin. About two hours later I found Geoff and Chris again hiding behind some trees in a park, both having been ‘chased along the beach by Townies’ – they never explained why this had happened.

Anyway, we ambled along to the gig, and there was a massive queue, at 6.45pm – we grumbled and wandered to the back of the queue, halfway along a voice called out to me, It was Nigel – he got us in quickly as part of his road crew. I was (nearly) 16 and already a roadie for Dodgy, did life get any better than this? (yes, as it happens, much better, but that is another story…)

The gig was insignificant, I spent most of it near the bar drinking Newcastle Brown Ale, supplied to me by Nigel from Dodgy. I later threw up in Geoff’s Dad’s Volvo Estate (come on I was (nearly) 16 and had at least three bottles). I honestly don’t remember a single song that Neds played.

Now what relevance does this has to The Verve (or Verve as they were then), well let’s fast forward about 12 months or so. I am now (nearly) 17 and seriously interested in Our Price Girl, and most weekends I take my hard earned wages (serving people in a shop was hard work in the early 90s) and spend it on records and CDs in order to impress Our Price Girl. So it is Saturday, and I have just listened to the Gary Crowley show on GLR (where is he now?) and he played Worth the Blood by Dodgy and I decided that I should pop down to Our Price and buy that and tell Our Price Girl all about how I know Nigel from Dodgy (which I did, really well – having seen them twice since the Neds gig), if that didn’t get her phone number then nothing would (as it happened it didn’t work but buying the first Pavement album about three months later did).

So I rock up, find the Dodgy single, and pop it on the counter. She picks it up, ‘Really’ she said. Yeah, they are mates of mine I say, ‘Oh’. Our Price Girl is completely and utterly uninterested, I may as well have been speaking Slovakian, and it’s almost as if the singer from Dodgy is mates with everyone or is as important as your local postman. She turns round and lays another CD next to it. ‘This is better’ she said. It is All in the Mind by (The) Verve. I hadn’t heard of this, I vaguely remember the NME mentioning it in the last issue. So I am in a quandary, do I forego my rock star mates, Dodgy, for the recommendation of (the admittedly, hot) Our Price Girl?

I don’t think I even put the Dodgy single back in the rack, and I know for a fact that I never bought another Dodgy record in my life. She smiles at me as she puts the CD in the bag. I smile back, blushing like a fool, ‘You going to Club Orange tonight?’ she says. I have no idea what Club Orange is, ‘Yeah definitely’ I say. ‘See you there then’. ‘Yup’ I say. My mind is already racing and I spend the next five hours trying to find out what Club Orange is and where it is.

Did I make the right musical decision? Unquestionably. ‘All In the Mind’ is one of those debut singles that after one listen you knew that this would be a band that you would grow to love and love. Also for what its worth, ‘All in the Mind’ also houses the greatest B Side ever recorded Man Called Sun. A record that should have been the lead track and a track that Dodgy would have killed for.

mp3 : Verve – All In The Mind
mp3 : Verve – One Way To Go
mp3 : Verve – A Man Called Sun

Did I make it Club Orange? No I didn’t, not that night anyway. That took another six weeks.

Oh just because I’m feeling generous – here are two more great Verve B Sides.

mp3 : Verve – Monkey Magic (Brainstorm Mix)
mp3 : Verve – Let The Damage Begin

So let’s have some more numbers then folks….

JC adds……

I want #17. I actually wanted #18 but it has already gone. So its #17 next week or nothing!!!